[MUSIC/CLASSICAL ~ GER]
Adelaide Town Hall, Fri 8 Mar.
Adelaide Festival’s program bills the Mahler Chamber Orchestra as being, “…on the top rung of world orchestras,” and promises, “In these glorious Australian performances you will enjoy some of the most beautiful music the world can offer.” These are strong words, but they are somehow insufficient to describe the transcendent experience the MCO brought to Adelaide Town Hall Friday night.
Mozart’s Last Symphonies (39, 40, and 41) are the order of the evening, and the orchestra’s mastery is immediately evident. Sublime playing and Town Hall’s warm, resonant acoustics combine for a perfect marriage of performance and room, conferring a heavenly sound.
The orchestra’s ensemble playing is a wonder to behold. They are billed as an orchestra of soloists, but there is no sign of ego as they seamlessly meld together, and the primary indications of their technical brilliance are the extent to which each performer’s playing is indistinguishable from that of their section, and their otherworldly tone. The wind and brass all deliver momentary spotlights that are revelatory.
Throughout, conductor Daniel Harding provokes the orchestra with an enthusiasm that is palpable. When the strings respond forcefully to the stationary bass and cello notes in the 40th’s Andante, he erupts into a silent cheer and continues to motion the whole note to its conclusion. At moments like these, it is clear that he knows he has the best seat in the house. He punctuates the percussive unison notes that answer the opening motif in the 40th’s Allegro assai with an abrupt hesitation as if to remind us that yes, this is really happening.
When the final note sounds, the Town Hall audience erupts, and a joyful standing ovation follows, bringing Daniel Harding and the orchestra back for three bows. If you care about chamber music and are able to arrange it, I strongly encourage you not to miss this extraordinary ensemble.
Mahler Chamber Orchestra performs Schubert’s Symphony No. 3 in D major and Bruckner’s Symphony No 4 in E-flat major on Sat 10 Mar, and Mozart’s Last Symphonies on Sun 11 Mar at Adelaide Town Hall.
Book at BASS on 131 246 and bass.net.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.
Image courtesy of Molina Visuals